This was our prayers of the people from March 29th. We offer it here to you so that it may give you words to pray throughout the week. God listens, God cares; even, or especially, in a time of fear we are urged to approach God with confidence that all that is needed his hand will provide:
Holy, Listening, Caring God, in our wired and interconnected yet isolated world, our hearts are can feel pummeled by a barrage of troubling news. Daily we are aware of more grief, O Lord, than we can rightly think out, more suffering than we can respond to, more injustice than we can engage with compassion.
But you, O Christ, are not disquieted by such news. You are not anxious nor overwhelmed, though you do not criticize us for ours. You know the full weight of the suffering of a broken world, you carried it in Jesus when He lived among us, and you carry it still and live among us still.
So when the noise of global distress unsettles us, remind us that we are yours, small and finite creatures, never designed to carry vast abstractions of universal burdens; our arms are too short and our strength is too small. Justice and mercy, healing and redemption, are your great labors.
Thank you that it is your good pleasure to accomplish such work through your people, but you have never asked any one of us to take on more than your grace will enable us to fulfill. Guard us, then, from shutting down our empathy or our hearts when the world’s misery floods our awareness. You have many children in many places around this globe. Move each of our hearts to compassionately respond to needs that intersect our actual lives, that in all places your body might be active in addressing some small place of the world’s pain.
Thank you for the Circles of Care emerging in our community. Bless each Circle with its unique needs, members, gifts and leaders. We long especially to pray for the Circles of Care with seniors who feel with particular intensity vulnerability of this moment. And we name with particular love and concern Mary in hospital, visitors restricted. Keep her from harm in mind and spirit even as her body is so frail.
Liberate and empower us by your Spirit to fulfill the small part of your redemptive work assigned to us. Especially we ask this for students going back to school, and for the teachers anxious to support good learning in such a dramatically changed environment. May we emerge from this time filled with more true hope, faith and love, more dependent on you and each other, more knowledgeable from the inside not only our need for your salvation, but an experience of it, here and now.
Whether we are involved in front -line care and decision-making at this time, or simply asked to stay at home, we ask for what you have promised and delight to give: peace and yes, even joy in you and your beautiful, broken world. Teach us when to speak and act and take in more information, and when to simply shut off our screens and our devices, and to sit quietly in your presence, casting the burdens of this world upon the strong shoulders of the one who alone is able to bear them up.
Prayer adapted from Every Moment Holy - "A Liturgy for Those Flooded by Too Much Information" - copyright 2017, Douglas McKelvey. Available for free download here